Miss Daleen is kind enough to let me once again have control of the keyboard and post a few thoughts. I wanted to share what I’ve learned.
First, when it comes to dealing with cancer, you never really know for sure where you are. No matter what “stage” you are in, no matter where along the path to recovery you are, there is always something else lurking. Cancer is insidious, it’s pervasive and from a support person’s perspective it simply sucks. I tried in vain to come up with a better term than cancer sucks, but sometimes a reaction from the gut speaks most eloquently.
I’ve learned that a lot of friends simply do not know what to say to a person afflicted with cancer. Some give platitudes, some say “I’m there for you”, others offer prayer and positive energy and some demonstrate their care and concern. Sadly, some cannot be friends anymore. It’s as if by being close to a person with cancer they might themselves be afflicted. Pity them, and teach them, for they need help at being better humans. Miss Daleen has been inundated with flowers and gifts and even the gift of time. Friends watched our furry friend Sweet Liberty while Daleen was in the hospital, something that eased our minds so we could focus on the task at hand. Dear daughter in law came to our house while we were gone and left not only flowers and a treasure trove of gifts, but put up a string of photos of the grandgirlies, knowing the smiles it would bring. Son 1 calls and visits and makes memories, son 2 calls or sends something to make his mom laugh every single day; God bless the internet.
I’ve learned that everyone has theories about how best to deal with cancer. Some go headfirst into the fray, fully armed and ready for war; others retreat quietly and steel their resolve for the battles yet to be fought.
I’ve learned that some people in the medical profession really should consider alternative careers. Yes, Doctor Z at Madigan, you are one of them. To kick anyone while they are down is wrong, for a doctor to do it to a patient is despicable. Shame on you and I pray you’ll take your skills elsewhere. Empathy and compassion should be your watchwords, not vindictiveness and meanness. On the other hand, I’ve learned that some doctors and yes I mean you Dr. B. are simply incredible. Always positive, always willing to go the extra mile. Were that there are more like you, we’d all be better off as a result.
I’ve learned that some believe the right thing to do is stay busy. Bless the horse lady for her working therapy and Son 1 for the target shooting. A friend in Indiana made a quilt; a friend in Washington who has many, many medical problems of her own made a painting to inspire Daleen to get better and go to the scene painted. Others offer research they’ve discovered, others simply and importantly are there. Miss Florida inspires us with her own battles and C&S in MosesLake keep us on track with sound advice and humour. K&D continually remind us they are in our corner and others listen – when Miss Daleen says no pink, she means it! A friend in Chicago offers unvarnished truth. She knows that often the messenger is not well received when the news is bad, but we love her regardless. People with who I work send gifts, cards, letters and some don’t even know Miss Daleen! They do know the battle takes its toll on everyone, and if they can make the support person even just a wee bit happier, then that will translate into something better for Miss Daleen. From a very personal perspective I’ve learned that there are folks in Vermont who will listen to me vent frustrations at any hour, even when they should be soundly asleep in their beds. They listen and it helps more than I think they can imagine.
I’ve learned that the colour (yes, where I come from colour does indeed have the letter “u”) pink has been hijacked by the “Breast Cancer Awareness” movement. If you have cancer, or you know someone that does, here’s a newsflash to the movement: YOU ARE AWARE. Buying a box of Jell-O does not support the cause! Rather than enlisting thousands to “Support the Cause”, how about teaching the world what NOT to do so as to help keep cancer away? Maybe even teach people that some foods actually are helping cancer along? Sadly, they’d rather hand out pink ribbons. Were I not a gentleman, I’d offer a suggestion as to where I think those ribbons should find a final resting place.
I’ve learned that, despite all attempts to the remain passive, when we’re driving and pass a car where the driver is female and smoking and eating anything from any fast food restaurant, I want to scream. I want to tell them what I know; that cancer strikes indiscriminately and smoking cigarettes and eating garbage can hasten it to their doorstep. I’ve also learned restraint, for after all it is their life, and they’d not listen anyway.
I’ve learned, perhaps learned anew is a better term, that no matter how much you love a person, no matter how much you try to protect that person, cancer can still find it’s slimy way to that person. I am a guy. Guys fix things. I’ve learned I can’t fix this, but I’ve learned that the effort is worthwhile for perhaps it is true that the destination isn’t the important thing and after all is said and done, it’s the journey together. Here’s to thousands more walks on the beach, here’s to millions more hugs from cute grandgirls and here’s to enjoying life to the fullest; each and every day remembering to laugh and to love.
I’ve learned that I’ve so much more to learn, but that I have so many people willing to teach. Have I mentioned I’ve learned I’m blessed?